RLC asked some time back about how I draw white things, and I’ve finally written a tutorial about it. I’d say it’s intermediate, and I hope it’s of use to someone!
So the first thing to understand is that I have eighteen grey pencils in three sets of six, French Grey, Warm Grey and Cool Grey. For each set, the 10% pencil is the lightest and the 90% pencil is the darkest, with 20%, 30%, 50% and 70% in between. I almost always use French Grey — I think it has a nice warm tone to it, it blends well with the colorless blender and the lightest French Grey is lighter than the lightest greys from the other two sets. Most of the white dresses or parts of dresses that you see on my site will have been done in French Grey. I like Cool Grey for silver, white parts with cooler colors like blue and sometimes just if I’m bored of French Grey. Warm Grey I don’t use all that much.
Generally with grey I work from lights to darks. I like to start off with light lines and pin them down with darker colors later, so I used French Grey 20% and Cool Grey 20% to draw the base of the swimsuit and cover-up (traced over the doll). 10% is hard to see, so I’ll usually go with 20% or 30% here.
Using French Grey and Cool Grey 10%, I colored most of the area where I intend to have shaded areas eventually. This is the base that the rest of the grey goes on, so these lines are more like a covering than sharply defined shadows.
Now that I’ve used the lighter colors (10%, 20%, 30%) I like to stop and blend a bit with the colorless blender. The general way I use the colorless blender is to rub it over the dark areas first, blending them into the lighter areas gradually and softening the whole area. I don’t always use the colorless blender with white outfits, though — it makes it smoother but it only makes a really dramatic difference with colors. I especially won’t use it with whites if I’m scared of accidentally dragging another color into the white section.
Going from 30% to 50% with the French and Cool greys is a big jump – if I wasn’t doing the tutorial, I might stop here and not use the darker greys, because the more you use the darker greys, the more risk there is of it looking less “white” and more “grey.” Anyways, I redid all the major lines and some of the shading with French and Cool Grey 50% here.
Going back to French and Cool Grey 50%, I added in deeper shading where I thought it was needed. (Note, in this tutorial I don’t use the 90% colors at all. Beware if you have them out with the others, more than once I’ve picked up 90% when I meant to use 70% and made myself very grumpy.)
Added color to the flower and some little pink dots to the cover-up, and voila! I would have probably stopped at step 7 if I was doing a proper outfit, though. I think you can use a lot of grey and still have something be read as white, but it’s easy to slip into being more grey than white. In this white dress which I think turned out well, the lines are all French Grey 50% and the only hint of 70% is at the folds in the hem.